May 31 2012 12:03PM
Over the past several years it has grown into a hackneyed cliché: "Twitter has changed the game." The phrase is paradoxically both new, and well-worn from gauche over-use, but I'll be damned if it isn't completely true.
Yesterday, for example, a Twitter user known as "@SamJam99" tweeted that the Canucks and Leafs had agreed upon a deal for Roberto Luongo, and were simply holding off on the announcement until late June or early July. Often times a rumour tweet of this nature will surface (@IncarceratedBob tweeted that the deal was "80% complete" just last week) and everyone will write it off. @SamJam99, however, has beaten the mainstream media on three major occasions over the past several years.
He first gained notoriety when
he was the first to accurately state that the Canucks were going to file tampering charges against Ron Wilson and the Leafs over their Sedin twins comments in the summer of 09. (Update June 6: SamJam didn't break the story, so much as he made noise with an on-line petition. I apologize for the inaccuracy of this particular statement). In the fall of 2011, he was thirty minutes ahead of TSN on the exact particulars of the David Booth for Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson swap. In February of 2012 he beat TSN by a similar margin with again, the exact particulars of the buzzer-beating Hodgson for Kassian trade on trade deadline day.
Again, this isn't some dude guessing about what the Canucks are going to do, this is a kid who had Sulzer and Hodgson heading to Buffalo in exchange for Gragnani and Kassian thirty minutes before any mainstream outlets were reporting it. He correctly had Sulzer in the trade damn it - so you know he wasn't just guessing.
A kid with a shady, reliable source is one thing, but it's just one part of a larger tableau of what's been a particularly fascinating, "game-changing" season for the Canucks on Twitter. It has been so odd, and so unique, that I think it's worth discussing further.
Read past the jump.
May 31 2012 09:11AM
This week, we've been focussing on "Canucks Team Needs." While the team is probably in need of a top-four defenseman, a third line center and a top-six winger, they're also in need of more youth, size and strength this offseason. Last week, we profiled three potential targets – Kyle Beach, Nikolai Kulemin, and Zac Dalpe.
This week, three more players were profiled. Unrealistic targets were not considered, so don’t expect to be reading about Corey Perry or James Neal. Some of the players profiled would be easier to acquire than others, and some of them are further along in their development than others.
Read on past the jump.
May 30 2012 12:04PM
David Booth improved the team on paper, but the Canucks still require more goals.
Despite having a sum total of absolutely zero forwards having a career year offensively, the Vancouver Canucks still somehow managed to be fifth in the NHL in goal-scoring, posting 2.94 goals per game. The Sedin twins took a significant step back this season, and their consecutive scoring titles began to fade in the rear-view mirror. David Booth's injury, and lack of power-play time contributed to him not putting up the counting numbers, Ryan Kesler experienced something called "regression to the mean" (and played tougher minutes than the season previous), while Mason Raymond quizzically played a lot despite rarely threatening to produce much of anything resembling offense.
The Canucks need to jump-start their scoring somehow, especially in the playoffs and frankly, they don't have the prospects to do it. Booth's addition made the team better on paper, but the step back from Mason Raymond, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows cost the teams goals. If the Canucks are going to remain elite, those goals are going to need to be replaced.
This week, your faithful (and cerebral) Canucks Army writers are identifying team needs. On Monday Thom let us know that the Canucks needed a top-four defenceman, and on Tuesday he zeroed in on the clubs need in the middle of their third-line. Today, we look at the top-six winger.
Read past the jump for more!
May 30 2012 09:31AM
It appears that the Canucks have signed 21 year-old forward prospect Alex Friesen, who recently finished up his overage season with the juggernaut Niagara Ice Dogs, to an entry level contract. That's according to the Twitter account associated with Pro Vision Sports, a Toronto based agency that represents Friesen. Here's the official press release from Canucks.nhl.com announcing the signing.
Read past the jump for videos of a smaller dude absolutely destroying bigger guys with massive hits, and a bit of analysis.
May 29 2012 03:42PM
With almost a full week off between hockey games, talk in Canuckville has turned to pressing off-season needs. And there are a number of them. With Mike Gillis floating the idea of keeping both Luongo and Schneider, there's a pretty sizeable hole in the goalie budget looming. (Insert Luongo/hole joke here) And I'm sure we can all safely agree that Keith Ballard is not going to fill the hole on the blue line left by the departure of Christian Ehrhoff. But if there's one thing that's clear, it's that Alain Vigneault needs to go back into radio silence mode. Ouch. That was some first day back, Alain.
But this is just the start of the NHL's silly season...